Tuesday 13 December 2016

Bible Book:

the steps of the needy.” (vv. 5-6)

Isaiah 26:1-6 Tuesday 13 December 2016

Psalm: Psalm 71:12-16


These verses form part of a hymn within the 'Apocalypse ofIsaiah'. This one is a processional song praising God. Verse 2refers to opening the gates and entering them, which might remindus of entry Psalms such as 24, 46and 48.

The hymn continues with assurances of peace and the everlastingnature of God for those who have been faithful.

In verses 5 and 6 God is praised particularly for reversing thefortunes of the poor and needy. This is a powerful message of hopeand transformation, and of expectation for the way people arevalued and treated in God's kingdom. It is no surprise thatpassages such as this have been revolutionary when communities ofordinary people have read them for themselves, as we have seen inLiberation Theology.

In this hymn Isaiah paints a picture of God's kingdom both inthe present (the here and now) and for all eternity. This kingdomis to be one full of promise and hope for the people who are leftbehind, who are at the bottom. On the other hand the promise forthe "inhabitants of the height" is not so positive, as they are tobe brought low. Those who have brought others low will now betrampled.

The impact of this on us probably depends on how we seeourselves and others. Just as it is hope and promise for some, itcan also be threat and fear for others. The idea that God is on theside of the poor seems apparent here as in many other places.Believing that has been a powerful factor in encouraging people tostand against injustice and poverty. However, the idea that Godwill bring down the rich and powerful, who have brought others downis not something that they like.

Just as much as this hymn is popular with those who find hopefor a better future it can be the opposite for others. It is not apassage you will generally hear from those in power and/or withwealth. Perhaps it is not comfortable reading at a time when the UKis again showing increases in inequality that puts us as one of theworst countries in Europe and even the world.

To Ponder

  • How do you see yourself in relation to this song ofvictory?
  • What brings you hope and peace as you imagine God's kingdom nowand for eternity?
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